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Frank Vogel says Lakers believe Dwight Howard wants to play in Orlando

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The Lakers are scheduled to leave for Orlando on July 9, and they’re hopeful that Dwight Howard will join them.

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Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA’s one-week transaction window closed on Tuesday, which allowed the Los Angeles Lakers to sign a replacement player for Avery Bradley on Wednesday. If another player, such as Dwight Howard, decides to opt out of the season, the Lakers will be still able to replace them as well, however, they don’t anticipate they’ll need to do that.

In a conference all with reporters on Wednesday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that Howard has expressed a desire to join the team in Orlando under the right circumstances.

“We’ve been in communication with Dwight the whole way with the support of phone calls and text messages and we don’t know what the level of participation is going to be yet,” Vogel said. “He wants to play. We are hopeful that he’s able to join us. He has an extenuating circumstance that he’s working with the league on in terms of what that’s ultimately going to look like. We’re hopeful that optimistic that he’ll be able to join us in Orlando.

“We don’t have any intention of replacing Dwight’s roster spot when we believe he’ll hopefully be able to join us.”

Howard has been vocal about his feelings towards the NBA season restarting in Orlando, saying that there are more pressing concerns that should be attended to before sports return — chief among them: the fight against racial injustice. While it’s still unclear what actions the league plans on taking, Vogel said he’s hopeful that the Lakers will be able to use their national platform to promote change.

“I, personally, am very eager to participate in this movement, in this fight against racism. I know the league is going to leave no stone unturned in terms of ways that they can strengthen the message. We’re in a position right now, in our country, to see change and affect change like never before.”

Howard has appeared in 62 games for the Lakers this season and averaged 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.

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